NEW YORK (AP / CBS New York) — Former Hearst Magazines chairwoman Cathie Black started work Monday as chancellor of the nation’s largest public school system, visiting classrooms and expressing enthusiasm for her new job despite some vehement backlash over her credentials.
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“For me, this is a dream. It’s a dream job, a dream opportunity, a chance to make a difference,” Black said at Public School 262 in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “Of course, I know it’s not going to be easy.”
She met with staff and knelt next to a fourth-grader as the teacher went over a lesson; the girl nodded when asked if she thought Black was nice.
At least 60 journalists tagged along as Black and Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited classrooms.
“Cathie Black’s going to be, I hope, the best chancellor we’ve ever had — taking the title away from Joel,” said Bloomberg, referring to her predecessor, Joel Klein.
After the Brooklyn visit, Black headed for schools in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island.
A judge last week ruled against opponents who claim Black is unfit to head the school system because she has no advanced degree and no teaching background. The petitioners say they may appeal.
New York City’s public schools have about 1.1 million pupils and 80,000 teachers.